Original Writing – Reviewed (CLOSED)

NOTE: This company is closed as of March, 2016 and in liquidation.

Original Writing is an Irish self-publishing service and was founded in 2006. Based in Smithfield, Dublin, the company has become one of Ireland’s most popular choices for authors looking for self-publishing packages.
A couple of years ago, Garreth Bonner, Sales and Marketing Manager with Original Writing was interviewed by The Independent Publishing Magazine.
Original Writing is open about the business of self-publishing and the author services they provide. They welcome visitors to their Dublin offices and their contact phone number and address is clearly displayed on their site. They have an online bookstore for their catalogue, where books can be purchased, as well as a linked blog and a writers’ forum for writers to discuss their work and display sample work for feedback. The main website features plenty of book advertisements for present and new release titles.

We’ll work closely with you on all stages of book production from your final draft through to the finished book in your hands. You have full control over all the important decisions regarding your work. Our expertise is there to help make your vision a reality and deliver a book you can be truly proud of.

Original Writing say they offer two distinct author service packages, but effectively it is actually one, either hardback or paperback publication with 100 author copies offered with each.

We offer two standard publishing packages for your book – either hardback or paperback. Both packages include 100 free copies of your book and full completion of all administrative aspects of publishing. We realise that every book is different and can also put together bespoke quotes for individual publishing projects, large or small. Full details of our packages are listed below.

It does irk me a great deal when companies refer to ‘free copies’. The books are not free. The company factors in the cost of print to the publishing package. Since I last reviewed Original Writing, little has changed in regards to the rigid publishing package offered. Since 2009, when I did my first review, I would have expected Original Writing to have grasped that if their business is to expand beyond authors unfamiliar with the publishing business, and authors happy to concentrated on localised self-publishing, then we would now have seen much more flexibility with the ‘package’ on offer. One fit for all just does not work with self-publishing now.
The package (€1595/1895) includes the following:
§   Design: Professional inside page layout and typography
§  Full colour joint cover design
§  Full range of book formats
§  Up to 5 electronic proofs for review
§  One final Proof (only if required and unbound) prior to final decision to print.
§  Publish: 100 paperback copies delivered to author specified address
Additional copies (minimum order of 50 units) over and above the 100 free copies can be ordered at any time (exact cost based on final specification but normally in range of Euro 4.50 to 5.50 per copy).
Online Sales
All titles are listed on the Original Writing Online bookstore and other suitable online bookstores and we handle the fulfillment of all online orders.
Administrative details
Original Writing handle the assignment of ISBN numbers and author’s copyright notice as well as EAN bar coding for retail sales (if required). We also handle provision of Legal Deposit copies to the following libraries:
§  The National Library of Ireland
§  Trinity College
§  NUI, Cork
§  NUI, Dublin (UCD)
§  NUI, Galway
§  NUI, Maynooth
§  University of Limerick
§  Dublin City University
§  The British Library, UK
The price for the paperback package is Euro 1595 payable and the price for the standard hardback package is Euro 1895 with Euro 500 due on commencement of project and the balance due on sign-off of final Proof Copy.
Earn royalty payments
The Author will earn 75% royalties on margin achieved by Original Writing on all sales online and to retail and wholesale outlets. The Royalty is payable every six months. Margin is calculated as to net selling price less cost of printing and transport and after deducting 1.50 Euro for handling fees.
Additional charges
Delivery charges for initial 100 copies are charged extra and vary according to location.
Design Charge of Euro 450 if Original Writing is to design cover from scratch
An additional per page cost if final layout is over 224 pages (Normally around one Cent per each additional page per copy).
Oh, and those ‘free 100 copies’? There will be additional charges depending where the author is located. Not so free now, are they?
The package includes, non-exclusive rights, ISBN allocation, full original colour cover design (450 euro as a stand alone bespoke service), full internal layout and design, legal deposit to national libraries, 100 author copies (will have an additional delivery charge depending on author’s location), a range of book sizes, 5 rounds of electronic proofs and a final single unbound paper proof. This also includes online distribution and a listing in their bookstore. Unlike many UK based author solution providers, Original Writing use an indigenous Irish digital printer and provide all online fulfilment. Orders are forwarded on to Original Writing from online sellers and books are shipped directly to customers from Ireland.

Pricing as of 2012:
Original Writing do include some marketing with these packages. A summary marketing plan will be prepared and offered to the author as well as their standard web listing page on their bookstore site. Authors ordering more than 500 copies of their book will also receive a full author website dedicated to them and their book. A circulation brief will also be submitted to bookstores and libraries as well as author review copies (amount not specified). Further marketing services are also available to the author on request.
Every author receives the following free marketing support:
§  Summary Marketing Plan prepared by our staff
§  100 copies of book.
§  Listing in our online bookshop.
§  Author webpage and extract from book (if required).
§  Circulation of book details to all bookshops and libraries.
§  Author website with orders of over 500 units. (Bad, bad clause)
§  Listing on Nielsen and subsequent listing on other online bookshops.
The Summary Marketing Plan covers the following areas:
§  Marketing Materials.
§  Initial promotion.
§  Book Review submissions.
§  Distribution options open to the Author.
§  PR and press release options.
Authors may order some or all of the following marketing materials and services:
§  Flyers
§  Invitation cards
§  Posters
§  Business cards
§  Print on canvas
§  Individual Author website with or without Adwords campaign
§  PR campaign
§  Targeted Press release campaign
§  Targeted Book reviews
Authors can purchase additional copies of their own books, with a restriction of a 25 copy minimum at between 4.50 and 5.50 euro per copy. Without knowing Original Writing’s own print costs, it is difficult to judge how much of a mark-up per book added by the publisher, if any at all.

“The price for the above package is 1595 euro payable as 500 euro on commencement of project and the balance on sign-off of final Proof Copy.” “An additional per page cost if final layout is over 224 pages (Normally around one Cent per each additional page per copy).”

Ouch! This is a potential limitation, with the 200 page moderately-sized book just coming barely in under this.
Proofreading and editing services are not included with these packages, though Original Writing can refer an author to an outside source. The author’s work ideally needs to be delivered to them in Microsoft Word format and the production timeline is estimated to be approximately nine weeks from submission.
Royalties are calculated at 75% of net sales, that is, after wholesale and print costs have been deducted and also a handling fee.

“The Author will earn 75% royalties on margin achieved by Original Writing on all sales online and to retail and wholesale outlets. The Royalty is payable every six months. Margin is calculated as to net selling price less cost of printing and transport and after deducting 1 Euro for handling fees”

And on the 2012 edition of the website:

If you are able to create a demand for your book you can make more money than you would make with a traditional publishing contract. Instead of a paltry 5 to 15% royalty, you will make 75% royalty on sales. While you will not make a huge profit self-publishing, if you put the work in you can make a healthy enough profit.

The 75% royalty on net sales is competitive when compared to other author service companies, and Original Writing also only subtract the print costs, 1 euro handling and transport fee for books sold at their on line bookstores. This is where many authors will depend on sales of their book. Books sold by other online sellers are also subject to the standard wholesaler discount which can be 40% or higher. The average price of Original Writers books is 15 euro (£12 on Amazon UK).
The packages are on the expensive side at 1595 euro, but even with a full cover design (authors can supply ideas and/or their own artwork if they so wish) as well as 100 author copies. The critical downside could prove to be  the limitation on book page-length and it is a pity this has to be tied into these packages.
Original Writing offer a package for inexperienced authors and they will appeal to those authors who want some input into the production and publication of their book, but do not want to be hands on with the technical stuff.
The critical challenge for Irish author solution companies who use printers here is maintaining competitiveness and attracting overseas authors. I don’t see Original Writing in anyway appealing to authors outside of Ireland, and most of what is offered is available more cheaply in Ireland, and outside of it. An author could go directly to Gemini, or any other modern Irish printer, and get a far better deal, while dealing with the online listing and marketing peripherals themselves. I just don’t see enough here to convince me that authors are getting the best deal they can.
RATING: 0/10 
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